Hula is an intrinsic and sacred part of Hawaiian life, and Ka'iulani has been honoured by many chants and dances.
The hula in the film is a gift that comes to the project through Jennifer Maile Kaku and her kumu (teacher) Kilohana Silve of Hālau Hula O Mānoa, a hula school based in Paris and Honolulu.
On May 5th 2014 the dance was taught to staff and students from the Street Dance course at City College Brighton. They went on to perform it on the bandstand on Hove seafront, a place the princess would have known well.
Dance and Lei Workshop.
On 9th May 2015 you can learn how to make a Hawaiian lei and to perform a hula in honour of Princess Ka'iulani with hula teacher Jennifer Maile Kaku. It's a free event for ages 8 and up. Please book at Hove Museum 01273 290200
I Mauna Lahilahi Ko Wehi was composed for Ka’iulani, probably in the mid 1880’s prior to her departure for Britain. In it chant the princess is compared to the yellow māmane blossom, a flower cherished for its beauty and fragility. There are references to special rains, winds, plants and fragrances, allusions to her royal status as heir to the throne and to the hopes of a people and a nation.
I Mauna Lahilahi ko wehi
‘O ka pua māmane melemele
I ponia i ka wai o ka niu Kaiāulu a‘e ‘oe he moani
Ma ‘ane‘i mai ka ua Nāulu Ho‘opulu i ka pua māmane
He wehi kāhiko no Kalani
‘O Kawēkiulani nō ‘oe
Ha‘ina ‘ia mai ka wahine
No Ka‘iulani nō ia wehi
Your adornment is at Mauna Lahilahi
The golden hued māmane blossoms
Anointed by water that drops from the coco palms
Whose fragrance is wafted when the Kaiāulu blows
The Nāulu rain comes this way
To moisten the blossoms of the māmane
Made into adornments for the heavenly one
For you, O Kawēkiulani
This ends my song to my lady
To Ka‘iulani, whose adornment this is.
Translation: Kīhei de Silva